Think Outside the Bulb

Philips launched Hue, a line of app-controlled colored light bulbs, this month and they are bad ass. I can imagine sitting in my office with SimplyNoise on (brown noise only, please) and dropping the hue of the room’s lighting to a deep dark-room red. That’s focus, baby. I’d crank out Excel models like a machine if that were my setup. Cool thing is it’s possible. Philips Hue bulbs are regular bulbs whose color is controlled through an app on your phone. You can change the color of a room’s lighting with the tap of the Hue app. Blue room, red room, warm room, cold room. Magic.

Seeing this new application of technology to a commodity product got me thinking about the depth and breadth of technology’s and digital marketing’s impact on our world today. I often sit around thinking about “What if…” scenarios (this is an eBoost past-time) and living in a world as if my “What if’s” already happened. Yep, I literally talk to myself as if my future “What ifs…” are a reality and in the past. When I’m in this zone, I’ve noticed my mind typically latches on to past experiences with downloadable software, conversion rate optimization, apps, social media, and I build upon things I’ve either done before to make incremental improvements or I come up with totally new ideas born of pain points I’ve experienced. After reading up on Hue, I’ve opening up to more creative applications of tech and marketing to find opportunities to re-invent commodity products. There have been things I’ve wondered in the past and perhaps there’s an opportunity for improvement. Indulge me and check out some “What if…” scenarios.

  1. What if the center cardboard tube of all toilet paper rolls were re-usable, flushable, or marked with inspiring quotes?
  2. What if the paper tabs on tea bags changed color when either the tea has steeped enough or the water is an appropriate temperature for drinking?
  3. What if greeting cards were re-usable? I spend $5 on a clever card and yet most cards are thrown away. Why not re-use it by inserting a post-it note style writing area on the inside?
  4. What if there were an app that allowed me to trace my consumption? I am a water-sucking, paper towel using (I have cut down on this after watching Joe Smith on “How to Use a Paper Towel”) citizen and I would be much more appt (get it? app+t = apt) to change my behavior if I knew just how much of a consumer I really am.
  5. What if pens made a noise when they were about to go dry that way you can get a new one before you run dry? (I imagine myself in a meeting with a new client and my pen starts making a screeching noise as if I’m hiding a cast-away animal in a box under the table. That would be epic. I’d buy only screechy pens for the sheer excitement of not knowing when the invisible animal noise would launch.)
  6. What if the chair I’m sitting in was connected to an app on my computer that alerted me when my posture was poor? Think Lumoback, only it’s built into my chair. (Disclaimer—I met and worked with Lumoback at Innovation Endeavors when we ran a Business Model Scalability Boost Camp with the entire incubator. They’re awesome. Monish and Steffen are kick ass individuals and I highly recommend trying out their product. Help your 80 year old self by getting your posture into shape now.)

Yes, yes, I know my ideas are all 100% genius. Yes, you can steal them as long as I’m one of your first beta users. So while the ever-pressing questions above don’t all lend themselves to an app, I’m now inspired to apply creative concepts to everyday items. I’ll start posting these thoughts—silly, genius, ridiculous, and more—on our Facebook page. Share your ideas too. Who knows, maybe we’ll reach out and get your idea off the ground. YOU can be the first eBooster to launch a product that changes the way people see an everyday item.

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